Thursday, 11/17/2011 Thanks so much to Patrick and Christiana for taking good care of me and sharing their lives. They built the house they are living in, went for years with minimal electricity while raising three daughters, and have managed to have some wonderful adventures topped by a rainforest replanting trip to Madagascar with their three daughters.
Shawn in front of their wonderful house. See the solar gear on the roof?
They send me off in the morning down a canal path. I ride it for 40 Kilometers! It is slow and bumpy but great to be free of cars.
Canals have boats,
and reflect the sky beautifully.
I cycle 57 miles intent on stealth camping. I check out half a dozen spots before choosing a large empty wood of Chestnut trees. It fronts a major highway. My indian scout skills tell me that the area is not used and not trafficked. My tent is wet from the rain night before last but dries out. This time I am well stocked with food and water. I still need to get a France sim card and figure out how to get WIFI consistently. I am feeling good at my game. I do miss my home life, but I’m not yet desperate. I am seeing so much beauty and having such an adventure. My essential French is getting smoother and more melodious.
11/18/2011. This whole thing is very simple. You wake up in the morning and you ride your push-bike. You eat. Then you rest at night. Repeat. What’s so hard about that? Going to work or raising a family is monumentally harder. I should be reading your blog. The hardest part of this is not the physical effort, communications, the uncertainty. The hardest part is not having Leslie here to share this with me. I do feel more alone so far from home.
So I am gong to invite anyone who wants to join me for a portion of this journey to do so. You don’t have to be uber fit or an experienced cyclist, just ready to have an adventure. I am also going to post on the Adventure Cycling website to see if I can find a few people who want to join me for a spell. This would give me some variety and an inexperienced cyclist support and a false sense of security.
So I camp by a creek in the swampy part of France between Machecoul and Bouin. I am not at all nervous about stealth camping in France anymore. I look at staying in a hotel in Machecoul, but it is $80 US, and just not worth it – yet. So I ride a few kilometers out of town, find a spot, and plunk down. The fish are splashing. A duck rasps a droning french quack; Alons, Alons. Occasional cars whoosh by, most probably don’t even see me, though I am 100 feet from the road, comfortable in my pajamas with some goat cheese, some as-of-yet-unidentified-experimental-food and electronics surrounding me. Ahhh.
Cycling touring is 50% adapting. My pattern has changed from Ireland and England, where I sought out a hostel each night, and headed for the town that it was in. There are fewer hostels in France, and they charge a lot- about $30 US a night. That buys a bed in a dorm. Hope no-one snores. Ireland seemed to have the most hostels, and the price was lowest- as low as $15-20 a night. So the hostel pattern made sense.
My first night in France, I tried the hostel pattern and struggled into into a major city and spent $37 US. Just not worth it. The advantage of the hostel pattern is the internet access each night, some company, and a shower. The disadvantage is that I have to determine where I am going to go based on hostel availability. Sometimes it is too near, sometimes too far. Plus the cost.
The camping pattern means I need to have enough food and water on board at 2:00PM, and to ride into the country looking for the right spot. The right spot is that scrap of land that doesn’t seem to belong to anybody, that has some privacy from the road, and optimally is dry with water nearby. There seems to be ample places like that here. I now ride as long as I desire each day. Camping eliminates my major expense, and I like being cozy in my tent. But the disadvantage is no internet access and no city to tromp around at night.